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Can a police officer use the 'dash cam' video in a court of law, do PA police officer's (local) have dash cams?

Allentown, PA |

I got a 1543(a) - driving w/o a license - my DL suspension is in appeals @ the Supreme Court level - as far as I am aware, it is a civil matter and I can drive unless/until a decision is made. A DL suspension is separate from a DUI decision, as a DUI is a criminal matter. Can the guy use the dash cam in court, if not, he has no case b/c he didn't give me any other citations and it was in my parking space at my home that he came up on me. INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY... I DID NOT COMMIT A CRIME, NOR DID I COMMIT A DUI.

Attorney Answers 3


Below is some information about the admissibility of videotape evidence generally. However, these concepts may or may not apply to your particular case and there may be other principals or factors not listed here that do apply to your case. You should retain your own attorney for case specific advice.

As with all evidence or testimony, dash cam video evidence is admissible if, and only if, it is relevant. Pa.R.E. 402. Evidence is relevant if (1) it has a tendency to make a fact more or less probable than it would be without the evidence; and (2) the fact is of consequence in determining the action. This generally means that the offered evidence must matter (albeit perhaps only slightly) to an ultimate issue in the case.

In addition to being found relevant, videotaped evidence must be authenticated. The most common method of authentication is for a witness with sufficient knowledge to testify that the video reproduces a fair and accurate portrayal of events at the relevant time. Commonwealth v. Hindi, 631 A.2d 1341 (Pa. 1993).

In criminal cases there may also be an issue as to the admissibility of the audio portion of the video. For example, the audio may be excluded if it contains an incriminating statement of the defendant, obtained by police in violation of the defendant’s right to remain silent. Commonwealth v. Conway, 534 A.2d 541 (Pa. Super. 1987). However, the principals prohibiting the introduction of illegally obtained confessions as evidence, generally apply only to criminal proceedings and are not typically applicable to civil proceedings.

Best of luck!

DISCLAIMER: This is not legal advice for your particular case. It is impossible for any attorney to tell if any of the above legal principals are applicable to your case without knowing more facts. You should contact an attorney in your area.

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Your assessment of whether 'that guy' has a case or not, and what you can or can't do with your suspended license 'as far as you know' are two assessment that to not inspire confidence when reading your post. Strongly recommend you leave the assessment and your suspended DL rights to an experienced DUI attorney. You are innocent until you are found guilty, but my sense of your post is that you've no idea what you're facing and you could use an attorney to ensure the court sees it the same way you do.

NOT LEGAL ADVICE. FOR EDUCATION AND INFORMATION ONLY. Mr. Rafter is licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the US Federal Courts in Virginia. There is no implied or actual attorney-client relationship arising from this education exchange. You should speak with an attorney licensed in your state, to whom you have provided all the facts before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. Mr. Rafter is under no obligation to answer subsequent emails or phone calls related to this matter.

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You are correct that you are innocent until proven guilty — that's why they have dash cams in the first place, to prove their case against you. You can object to the admissibility of the dash cam, and the court will determine whether the video comes in (my guess is probably), because in a 1543 case what matters is not HOW you were driving, but only that you were driving. The second element — that you were under suspension — is proven by your certified driving history through PennDOT.

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